Emotional Hardbody answers: Does guilt over ex's friend's affair pass the "tell" test?
Editor's note: For the third installment of Christina Pesoli's new advice column, Emotional Hardbody takes on gossip and revenge among friends and ex-lovers.
Dear Emotional Hardbody,
My husband Craig and I recently split up and are getting a divorce. A couple of months before we split up, Craig told me that his best bro (Bob) was having phone sex with his wife's (Jane) sister (Betty) — yes, his sister-in-law.
When Craig told me, it was clear that he put this in the category of hot gossip — tawdry tidbits about someone else’s sex life. In other words, it was pure, unadulterated [pause] entertainment. I, on the other hand, considered it a huge betrayal of Jane by both Bob and Betty.
The fact that we have different views on this isn’t the reason that Craig and I are divorcing. (We’re divorcing because Craig is, shall we say, truth-challenged.) However, our divergent views do illustrate how fundamentally incompatible we are.
But lately I’ve been feeling guilty for not telling Jane about what Bob and Betty are up to. Should I tell her?
Short answer: No.
It’s not that I have any hang-ups when it comes to people sticking their big noses into other people’s business. (I was, after all, raised in a boundary challenged Italian-American family with more than our fair share of big noses.)
But there are a few things that make the scenario you describe a “keep your nose out of it” situation:
1. The fact that your conscience didn’t start to bug you until recently tells me that your desire to bear your soul has more to do with getting back at Craig than helping Jane. Telling Jane will expose Craig’s violation of the “bros before hos” oath that all "truth-challenged" guys take. And that violation will cause considerable trouble between Craig and Bob. Be honest now, isn’t that what your sudden desire to unburden yourself is really all about?
2. It sounds from your letter like Bob and Jane are really Craig’s friends, not yours. Because you and Craig are getting a divorce, you are not likely to see much of Jane in the future. If Jane were your friend, your responsibility would be different. But because she’s not, you don’t really have the standing to butt in. Consider that a blessing of sorts.
3. When it comes to telling someone something that could break up a marriage, the information should come from a solid source. The fact that you heard this from your truth-challenged, soon-to-be ex means you don’t have enough to go on. Consider that another blessing of sorts.
Sometimes life requires us to do difficult things like breaking it to someone that his or her spouse is cheating. Luckily for you, this is not one of those times. Your work right now is to move forward with building a new life for yourself — one that doesn’t include truth-challenged men and their cheater friends.
Now quit worrying about your ex and his friends and get to work on your future.
Got a hard question? Get an Emotional Hardbody answer. Email your questions to Christina, and you could be featured in an upcoming article.